It’s a privilege to be selected in Australian Women’s Weekly and Qanta’s Women of the Future Awards Semi-Finals. Judged by prominent Australian women including Julie Bishop, Lisa Wilkinson, Leigh Sales and Turia Pitt (pictured above), the Women of the Future Awards recognise young women who are making a difference.
While the title Women of the Future suggests that we are young women emerging into leaders, looking at the various semi-finalists and their achievements, we're each leaders that have made the unequivocal commitment to drive social change. We’ve emerged.
Establishing the Top Blokes Foundation at the age of 19 was not a brave decision. It wasn’t a risky decision. It couldn't have been. Because at that age, I didn't know what I was getting myself into.
I began the Foundation out of pure frustration that young men weren’t receiving specialised social education programs to tackle the emerging social issues they were facing. From mental health issues, to street violence, to the rise of pornography and sexting, the rates of young men struggling with their health and well-being could no longer be ignored.
I was so frustrated that I somehow believed that I, some 19 year old girl, had to do something about it. Today, knowing the level of commitment and sacrifice needed to make a charity successful, I thank that 19 year old girl for her blinded tenacity to not let the challenges and failures stop her mission to build a culture of resilient young men.
Starting a charity is easy. Making a charity successful isn’t. Each of us Women of the Future semi-finalists are on our journey to either reaching or growing our sustainable organisations. These women have stepped out of their comfort zones, taken risks to begin bold organisations and worked extremely hard to being about social change. In essence, we’ve dared to dream and we’re making it happen. And that in itself is worthy of recognition.
I encourage you to vote, not just for one, but for multiple women on the list who inspire you to take action. While we’re all equally hoping that we take out the top prize for our charity, the networks and friendships that we’ll develop as a result of this awards program will go so much further. We’re Women of the Future, but we’re starting now.
Voting closes 19th August, 2015 at 5pm. Winners will be announced on 22nd September 2015.
To view Melissa's profile click here
To vote for your favourite semi-finalist click here